Franz Carl Koenig

I received a message from a gentlemen in Philadelphia asking if I had heard of Franz Koenig and sited the 1910 census in which he is living with the artist George Fox. He had longed believed that Franz may have been gay so I'm looking into him further. Unfortunately I have had a difficult time finding information on him, but I will put what I can here.

We know that Franz was born in Cologne, Germany in about 1868 and that he came to the United States in the late 1880s and may have been the 19 year old painter aboard the "SS Ems" who arrived in New York City from Bremen on September 10, 1887. He became a naturalized citizen and moved to Philadelphia sometime prior to 1908. He was hired by Siegmund Lubin, the movie theater pioneer, to design the facades of several of his venues. By at least 1907 his brother Ferdinand Karl Koenig and his brothers wife Annette "Nina" arrived to the United States and stayed with Franz. Ferdinand was a sculptor of some note and Nina may have been an artist as well. By the 1910 census the three were living at Franz's home on Parkside Ave in Philadelphia and the artist George Bladen Fox had joined them. The following year Ferdinand and Nina had found their own place on Parrish Street, but George was still living with Franz. I have lost track of Franz after this point, but by 1918 George had moved on and was taking a long trip to the Caribbean alone. In 1920 we find Ferdinand and Nina living in Milwaukee where he is teaching at a sculpture school. Regarding Nina it is interesting to note that in the three documents we have for her, she has given three different places of birth. In the 1908 ship manifest at Ellis Island she says that she is of German nationality but Romanian and born in Bucharest. In the 1910 census she is listed as Bulgarian and in the 1920 census she is listed as French.


Census Records

April 15, 1910 - 4912 Parkside Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Name Description Born Immigration Occupation
Franz C. Koenig white male 42, single Germany 1885, naturalized architect in general architecture
George Fox white male 42, single Pennsylvania - artist - illustrative art
Ferdinand Koenig white male 46, married 5 years Germany 1908, alien sculptor in general sculpture
Nina Koenig white female 35, no children Bulgaria 1908, alien -

January 1920 - 397 1/2 Park Place, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Name Description Born Parent Born Occupation
Ferdinand Koenig white male age 54 Cologne Cologne Teacher at Sculpture school
Annette Koenig white female age 41 France France -

City Directories

Philadelphia City Directories

1908: Fox, George B., salesman, h 907 N 5th (no George listed as artist or on Parkside)
1908: Koenig, Franz C. (Phila Decorative Contractors), h4912 Parkside av
1911: Fox, George B. artist h 4912 Parkside av
1911: Koenig, Ferdinand sculptor h 1213 Parrish
1911: Koenig, Franz C. architect 4912 Parkside av

Newspaper Articles

The Milwaukee Journal - December 22, 1943

Was Sculptor Here Mary Years; Works Famous in U.S. and Abroad

Prof. Ferdinand Koenig, 83, Milwaukee sculptor for almost 35 years and teacher at the Milwaukee Art institute, died Tuesday at his home, 2587 N. Murray av., after several months' illness. Prof. Koenig, known as an extremely modest man regarding his work, had created many pieces of sculpture in Milwaukee. Among his works are the fountain figure in the auditorium of the Art institute; a bust of Richard Lorenz, the painter of western scenes, and the church statuary which first brought him to Milwaukee from Europe.

Family of Sculptors

He was born in Cologne, Germany, of a family of sculptors. He studied under Prof. Albermann in Duesseldorf, Germany, and then opened his own studio. Later he had studios in Cologne; Florence, Italy, and Paris, France. His work became widely known in Europe and later in this country. He received first prize at an exhibition in Duesseldorf in 1902 and at Liege, Berlgium, in 1905 the grand prize in sculpture at the world fair in St. Louis in 1904, and first prize in the annual exhibit of Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors about 1917.

Joined Old Art School

When the sculptor first came to Milwaukee he became a member of the faculty of the old Wisconsin School of Art, which was a forerunner of the fine art school at Milwaukee State Teachers college. He was made an honorary member of the Seven Arts Society of Milwaukee. He returned to Europe to visit art exhibitions shortly before the outbreak of the war in 1939 and returned on one of the last ships to arrive in this country. Only a sister-in-law, Mrs. Rosa Kramer, survives. Funeral services will be held at 2pm Friday at the Weiss chapel, 1901 N. Farwell av., with burial in Forest Home cemetery


Film History (magazine), Vol 6, No 2, Summer 1994

Article: When a Dime Could Buy a Dream: Siegmund Lubin and the Birth of Motion Picture Exhibition

"Lubin hired architect Franz Koenig to design some of the nation's first ornamental motion picture theatres."

"The King of the Movies: Film Pioneer Siegmund Lubin" by Joseph P. Eckhardt

page 62: "No longer content to merely nail up pressed metal fronts, Lubin hired professional architect Franz C. Koenig of Philadelphia to design elaborate facades for all his new theaters."

Travel Documentation

SS Ems from Bremen to New York City, September 10, 1887

Franz Konig, 19, male, painter, coming from Austria, steerage ticket with no luggage

SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria from Cuxhaven to New York City

Disembarkation: Cuxhaven on April 8, 1908
Embarkation: Ellis Island, New York on April 17, 1908

Annette Koenig, age 31, female, wife, German nationality and Romanian race. Last permanent residence in Florence, Italy, previously in Philadelphia in 1907. Address of nearest relative in country whence alien came: Mr. F. K. Koenig, husband, Parkside Ave 4912 Philadelphia Pa. Final Destination: Philadelphia. Going to husband Mr. Karl Koenig, Parkside Ave. 4912 Philadelphia. In good health, 5'8", fair complexion, blue eyes, brown hair. Born in "Bukarest, Romany"

SS Dresden from Bremen Sept 12, 1929 to New York City Sept 22, 1929

Koenig, Ferdinand - 59, married, 573 Murray Ave., Milwaukee
Koenig, Annette - 52, married, 573 Murray Ave., Milwaukee

SS Columbus (Tourist Class) from Bremen Sept 18, 1937 to New York City Sept 26, 1937

Koenig, Ferdinand - 66, School of Fine Arts State Teachers College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Koenig, Annette - 60

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